tv Politics Nation MSNBC April 21, 2014 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
president of the united auto workers. good to have you with us. thanks so much for joining us. that's "the ed show." "politics nation" with reverend al sharpton starts right now. good evening, rev. >> good evening to you. thanks for tuning in. tonight, democrats on the offensive, fighting for fairness. it's a vision that stands in direct contrast to a brutal republican budget that cuts from the poor. make no mistake, this is a battle that's more important than ever. a jars new study says that nearly 49 million americans like access to healthy food. 49 million. and what's worse, nearly a third are children. it's a nightmare being played out all over this country. >> right now, there are 30,000 kids who are considered food
insecure. that means they do not know where their next meal will come from. >> you use our checks to pay bills. we cannot afford food. >> there are 300,000 children in south florida who aren't sure where their next meal is coming from. >> 1200 elderly families are currently on waiting list for the adopt a family program. >> we have a handful of 100-year-olds on the waiting list. can you imagine you being 100 years old and food insecurity? >> 100 years old, 100 year olds and they don't know if they'll be able to eat? but despite this, paul ryan and his fellow republicans are looking to destroy programs for these very people. the house gop voted almost unanimously for a budget where 69% of the cuts target low income americans. cutting lifelines like the food stamp program, like medicaid.
even abolishing the affordable care act. why? because we need to get serious. >> so if washington is serious about helping working families or getting names out of work back to back, then it needs to get serious about our national debt. how do we do it? first, we stop spending money we don't have. >> it literally takes from the poor to give to the rich. that's wrong. and democrats are exposing this failed vision. elizabeth warren writes, we can't pretend if big government disappear, so will society's toughest problems. that's just magical thinking and is also dangeroustying. it is dangerous, and she's not
going to let ryan and the republicans get away with it. >> paul ryan looks around, sees three unemployed workers for every job opening in america and blames the people who can't find a job. paul ryan says keep the monies flowing to the powerful corporations, keep their huge tax break, keep the special deals for the too big to fail banks, and put the blame on hard-work i hard-working play to the rule americans who lost their jobs. that may be paul ryan's vision of how america works, but that's not our vision of this great country. that's right. >> that's not our vision. and it never will be. joining me now is congresswoman marsha ford, democrat from ohio and chair of the congressional black caucus. and sister samoan campbell. she's the executive director of
network, a national catholic social justice lobby. and an author of of economic justice in light of congressman ryan. thank you for being here. >> this report says that 49 million people are food insecure. aren't representatives supposed to help their constituents? >> calling what he's doing a budget lends validity to it. if it was a budget, he could justify his cuts and he can't. what this is is a scheme to rob the poor and give to the rich. it is not a budget.
it is not going anywhere. because anytime you cut $4.3 trillion out of a budget and $3 trillion hurts the poor, the working poor, the middle class and senior citizens, what do you expect for them to do. you can not base any kind of budget on the backs of people who can least afford it. >> new numbers show there's an enormous and growing grap between ceo's and minimum wage work es in 2013, ceo's made an average of $11.7 million. minimum wage workers got just over $125,000. how can anyone argue that we need to focus on closing this gap. many do argue that those at the
top will eventually wake up and care for those at the bomb. but what our experience is is that that is not true. it's not good for our democracy, it's not good for our economy to have so many of our people, 20%, 25% of our people struggling so hard. that is wrong. we've got to change that direction. when you look at the fact that the said incoming equality is the defining issue of our time and "the washington post" reports that democrats are being urged to run and use the exact same 1% economic messaging that won president obama's second term in 2012, how do you as a leader in the party and leader of the congressional black caucus respond to the call for the democrats to run in this midterm election on that theme. and the president saying it's a defining issue of our time.
>> you're absolutely right. we do need to run on incoming equality. we also need to run on the affordable care act. we need to tell the american public the truth. we need to let them know they're not the only ones struggling. as you said, almost 25% of all americans are struging in some way, shape or form. it's our job, our responsibility as representatives to help them. and if we choose not to do that, then we should not be their representatives. >> now, the right keeps arguing that poverty is due to people's moral failings. listen to this, sister similar moan -- simone. >> we don't want to turn the safety net into a hammock that lulls people into complacency. >> studies show people on welfare are higher users of drugs than people not on welfare. >> a lot of people are lazy and
a lot of people are becoming lazier. >> really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. >> supplemental nutritional assistance program, the buy beer program with a government credit card. >> is it people's failings that have caused this big gap in income inequality and that has caused food insecurity? >> oh, reverend, what we just heard breaks my heart. because it is so far from the truth of the majority of hardworking people. the fact is people work hard and rely on snap program to be able to feed their families. when they work full time, they still live in poverty. that's wrong in our nation. students who are losing hope because of the difficulty of finding jobs in this tough economy, what we need to do, what is best for america is to raise wage, create jobs and then
we will move forward, hardworking people are trying their best. but those who hold on to capital are not sharing the wealth. and there is the problem. >> congresswoman, i know your district well, go in often. are there people sitting around with no value in working and men just for generations just lazy and don't work? fi didn't see them in your district. >> they aren't here. you would be amazed how many people call my office looking for work every day. you would be surprised at how many people are saying i've tried over and over again. is there any way you can help me or is there some way i can be retrained. what can i do to be able to support my fem and myself. let me tell you, that rhetoric is just a mantra to the republican parties is to say to others, it's okay to look down on the poor. it's okay to look down on those
having a tough time. it is okay to look down on people who are uneducated or who are not highly skilled. they're just trying to make it easy for people to not look at what's going on in this country. i think we're going to be in serious trouble. everyone i know wants a job. >> be careful, you were recently on fox news and sean hannity said this to you about your economic theorys and philosophy. a. >> the book is about trying to lift up the needs for the poor people in our nation. >> i think that's a great idea. >> but going after paul ryan's budget. that was the big -- >> you're a communist. >> oh, no, not at all. >> i hope he was joking. >> well, i don't know if he was joking or not. some people took him seriously, but the fact is that name
calling is about all that dibt on that perspective. ty say to these naysayers, come meet my people. come meet the reality and quit the lies, quit dividing us. >> thank you both for your time. sister simone's book is "a nun on the bus." you want to read it so they quit throwing the poor in front of the bus. coming up, why is supreme court justice antonin scalia telling students to, quote, revolt if taxes get too high? plus attorney general eric holder took a major step forward in correcting the injustices of our legal system today. and it's a white house tradition.
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>> how can a politician refuse to take federal money to expand medicaid? it's happening now. governors are literally turning away money. why? president obama knows why. >> this does frustrate me. states that have chosen not to expand medicaid for no other reason than political spite. you've got 5 million people who could be on health insurance right now at no cost to these states. zero costs to these state, other than ideological reasons, they have chosen not to provide health insurance for their citizens. that's wrong. >> it's wrong. and this week they're fighting back. govr nor jindh a l said there's
no way he will expand medicaid. so the legislature is trying to put it to a referendum. a state committee will consider the bill this week. a local editorial says passing it is a no brainer. quote, how can senators not approve? how could the state not allow voters to decide if they want to expand medicaid. governor jindhal's refusal is denying 242,000 people in florida insurance. these are real people. needlessly losing out on care. >> this does frustrate me. states they have chosen not to expand medicaid for no other reason than political spite. you've got 5 million people who could be adding health insurance right now at no cost to these states. zero cost to these states.
other than ideological reasons, they have chosen not to provide health inshuns for their citizens. that's wrong. >> governor jindhal and his republican buddies don't have an answer. get ready, republicans. this fight is coming. joining me now is salon.com's joan walsh. joan, thanks for being here. louisiana is not the only state that's refusing to expand medicaid. 24 states have. and the white house says by 2016, 5.7 million will lose out on insurance. are democrats in these other states going to follow louisiana's lead. are they going to keep pushing this issue? >> yeah, they are pushing this issue. it's been a false narrative on the affordable care act that a, democrats are running away from it and b, they really should because the politics aren't good. i think the politics are changing. and even in some red state where
is you've got some, you know, maybe shaky, wobbly red state democrats who aren't sure to do with the whole lot, they're pushing medicaid expansion. mary landrieu -- >> i was going to say that. >> she's been pushing -- >> she's a democratic senator in louisiana. mary landrieu. she's pushing for the referendum on medicaid expansion. and let me quote her, since you brought it up. she says the governor has clearly put his political future ahead of the future of the state of louisiana. let the people decide what is fair, whether they want to expand or use over $16 billion in federal funds. now, this is a democrat senator up for re-election in a red state. is medicaid going to be a good issue for her? >> it is. it's going to be a good issue in other red states. this is what some democrats don't seem to get. in florida, 59% of the voters support it. in georgia, same thing. you've got michelle nun in georgia, jason carter in georgia. they've been a little wobbly on
the affordable care act. the politics are generally turning around, but they're really turning around when it comes to medicaid. >> there's so much chaos in the gop when it comes to health care, mitch mcconnell has a new ad out talking about the law. listen to this. >> mitch mcconnell, he's not a show horse. mitch is a genuine kentucky workhorse. last year he saved 99% of kentuckyians from an income tax increase. and he's leading the fight against obama care. >> now, he's leading the fight against the law. but just last week, mcconnell said insurance for everyone would be a great thing in principle and we're going to figure out a way to get this fixed. i mean, which is it, joan? has he figured out a way to improve the law or is he leading the fight against the law? which is it? >> right now with the tea party challenger. he's got to say he wants to get rid of obama care.
he was speaking to a group, i think, of health care professionals when he said we're going to fix it. and the politics of this, i think, are terrible for him. especially in in november. kentucky is one of those amazing red states with a blue governor who has embraced this project. they have reduced the number of uninsuranced people in kentucky by 40%. mitch mcconnell is actively fighting to take away something from his constituents, and even some of his elderly aging white voters are happy to get kentucky's version of obama care. they just don't call it that so they don't know what it is. >> on friday just past, the house gop was out with a new memo debunking obama care's 7 million enrollee success story. they want the administration to get a statistic on how many received a subsidy, raising concerns about fraud. joan, you've been writing about this. what are they trying to say about people who receive
subsidies to buy insurance? >> they're basically saying that they're welfare cheats, right? th that's the beginning. we haven't heard much of this new line. >> on good friday. >> really a nice touch. they're running scared. when they wrote that memo, 7.1 million. by the time the memo went out, it was 8 million. they're running scared from this. now they're trying to -- my f m former colleague in the "new republic" said they're trying to welfarize obama care. try to make it another program that they can convince their constituents, this is not for you. this is for those other people and they're going to cheat and they're going to steal your hard-earned money. but, you know, i really don't know how much it can work. medicaid, the interesting thing about medicaid expansion, medicaid is the part where people do get help from the government. they get it directly from the government, not just help. and it's popular, rev. this is what some democrats don't even seem to understand. the american people seem to understand is that this is a
really vexing issue that it's very expensive and they want feel to have help. and they particular want it when it's their tax dplars. if you're in louisiana or florida or texas or virginia, your tax dollars are going to another state where they have expanded medicaid and not your own state where it would create job. in louisiana, i think it would create something like 15,000 health care jobs alone if they took this money. >> 15,000 just in the health care industry. >> i'm going to have to leave it there. thank you for your time tonight. coming up, why is supreme court justice scalia talking about a revolt over taxes? and more derangement from the right. why is one republican talking about arresting attorney general holder? plus, it was a big day at the white house. you'll want to see who joined the president for an annual tradition. stay with us. ♪
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>> it was a weekend of senseless violence in chicago. nine people in the city were killed and at least 35 woundeds in shootings over the holiday weekend. that includes five children walking by a park near an elementary school. this morning, chicago's police superintendent said the city needs help. >> we're all tired oift and unfortunately i think we're going to have the same conversation we've had before. we need help with the gun laws. the national averages for gun violence, we're way above it as far as murder by gunshot goes. so until such time we stem the flow of guns come into the city and people start going to jail for it, we can make progress, which we've made, but we're not going to fix this problem without help from springfield. >> in 2012, there were 500 killings in chicago. that number fell last year.
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he was asked whether the income tax is constitutional. scalia said that it is, but added, quote, but if it reaches a certain point, perhaps you should revolt. revolt? bhauz taxes are too high? pretty stunning a comment coming from a supreme court justice who sounds more like a tea party member of congress. >> i want people in minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax, because we need to fight back. >> people should be armed and dangerous? that was michelle bachmann in 20099. today we're seeing more of the anti-government movement. in wisconsin, the state's gop was about to hold a vote on whether it can secede from the country.
a hero for rejecting government, secession and rebellion, a trend on the right. now a supreme court justice is joining the party. joining me now are dana millbank and krystal ball. dana is writing about the anti-government trend on the right. secession a tournament for the gop. >> maybe that's scalia's idea kind of a joke or something. but what do you make of it coming from a supreme court justice. >> it's pretty remarkable. one thing we've seen about scalia is he is not afraid of
adopting some of these tea party arguments drawing things, even in oral arguments from the sort of tea party websites. for example, the broccoli argument, if we allow people to have health care, next thing you know, government would be man dating broccoli. justice scalia made that argument from the bench. >> entitlement being a racial preference. >> that was unbelievable to hear. i know you were in that room that day. >> i was the guy that almost passed out in the room.
>> dana, your reaction to the supreme court justice's statement? >> this particular justice is very attuned to the words being used out there. he frequently echos them, so this whole state sovereignty movement is frequently echoed by scalia. and this whole notion of a resolt as well. you have to realize as well, this is no at typical supreme court justice we're talking about. this is one who's appeared before the tea party caucus in congress. he sounds like a political pundit instead of a supreme court justice. we've heard him invoke opinion polls, newspaper articles to criticize obama. not necessarily the sort of
legal jurisprudence you would expect to get from the bench. >> listen to this interview with a republican member of congress today. >> when you have someone like a attorney general who is in contempt of congress, what could we do? actually you could pass a resolution directing the sergeant at arms to detain anyone who is in contempt of congress, somebody comes into our jurisdiction on capitol hill, you restrain them until such time -- and there is a cell there on capitol hill. >> so let me get this right. he is proposing, they have a resolution to arrest and detain the attorney general of the united states? >> absolutely unbelievable. >> this is a sitting member of
congress. >> right. and he has been utterly disrespectful to attorney general eric holder in the past on numerous occasions. it's really been over the top. and you've seen a pattern of behavior directed at this attorney general and this president in particular where nothing is too outlandish. you know, calling for the impeachment of the president is another sort of meme on the right that they've become very comfortable with and that's a great applause line at tea party rallies. it seems like there is nowhere that is too far for them to go where this attorney general and this president are concerned. >> you wrote, quote, are republicans about repealing obama care, blocking immigration reform and opposing government spending and debt limit increases, even if this brings about a government shutdown and default on the federal debt?
are they trying to limit the scope of the federal government or to stop it from functioning? i think that's a very good question, dana. >> well, it depends on who you ask in terms of what answer you're going to receive. somebody like louie gohmert, it's easy to say okay, he's a character who says whatever comes to his mind. and he's on the fringe. can't say the same thing of justice scalia who is in this supreme court majority that has completely rewritten the inauguration's campaign finance laws, among many other things. there are always going to be voices in the wilderness. what seemed to have happened here lately is that it's been mainstream. that's part of why the tea party has been less effective in mounting challenges. because it's a lot of elected republicans who have taken the rhett ricket from the fringe, from the tea party and now are applying that in the mainstream. >> you know, crystal, we talked about secession vote coming up
in wisconsin. and it's an idea we've been hearing a lot since president obama took office, frankly. and it's been pushed by the right wing media. listen to this. >> if you're going to jam this stuff down our throats, sthen yeah, maybe it's time for secession. >> this is a reasonable woman talking about secession. civil war. she's not alone, folks. this is not the ravings of extreme kookism anymore. >> civil war, secession. i mean, and this is from people that have huge listening audiences and people that take them seriously. >> and this is from the party who claims to have a lock on patriotism. they call themselves patriots all the time. that's the rhetoric they embrace
and meanwhile they're pushing for the most anti-patriotic act you can imagine, breaking up the very country they're supposed to be proud of and concerned for as patriots. as you point out, after this re-election of the president, there was a spate of petitions at the white house.gov website itself asking for states to secede. i was home in my home state of virginia and i saw several bumper stickers about secession. so i think it's very strange to me that this country that they claim to love so deeply, they're so ready to abandon and split apart from. >> krystal ball and dana millbank, thank you both for your time tonight. and make sure you catch krystal on "the cycle." coming up, today president obama and attorney general holder took a powerful step forward in the fight for justice. plus, boston strong.
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for certain nonviolent federal drug offenders seeking clemency. h individuals who do not pose a threat to public safety. the justice department anticipates it will receive thousands of new applications for presidential clemency. and it will soon bring additional lawyers to pardon -- to the pardon office in anticipation of more requests. far too many men and women are behind bars serving mandatory minimum drug sentences for nonviolent crime, even though those sentencing laws have been changed. these are the people today's announcement is designed to help. back in december, president obama commuted the sentences of eight crack cocaine offenders. all sentences under the harsh
mandatory minimum guidelines, five of these men and women were set to be released just last week. since he took office, president obama has been committed to fighting the injustices of our legal system. he spoke in very personal terms about this at the 50th anniversary of the march on washington last summer. >> it's not simply a pipeline from under funded schools to overcrowded jails. it requires vigilance. >> there is so much more work for this to be done in this area. but today, president obama and attorney general holder took up powerful step forward. thank you both for come on the show tonight.
>> thanks, rev. >> thousands of new applications for clemency. what's your reaction to the news today? >> i'm excited about the news. i hope we can get the word out to those citizens who been incarcerated. it's a great step for this administration, spearheaded by attorney general holder's efforts on all front, closing the gap between crack cocaine. and although they're casting this as an economic issue, it is important to note that these kinds of laws disproportionately affect people of color, poor people, people with mental challenges, and people who have limited education. so it's also a way of closing the inewallty gap to give these folks a fair shake at reentering into our society right now. >> we mentioned earlier the kind of people this announcement is aimed at. there are those like the sentence the president commuted
in december of last year. one of those individuals was clarence aaron. he was 24 years old at the time of his arrest. it was his first time offense. he wasn't the dealer, supplier or buyer, and he was sentenced to three life terms. another was stephanie george. she was 26 years old at the time of her arrest. a mother of three. she hid boyfriend's drugs in her house and she was sentenced to life in prison. >> this is the sorry consequence of the movement that started in the 1980 whz when the conservative movement was rising. so you started to see a skyrocketing in incarcerations. in 1980, half a million folks were incarcerated. today, about 2.5. that is quadruple and it's really a stain on us as a country. we have 5% of the world's population, yet a quarter of the world's incarcerated population. so it is time that we start righting the direction. it's not just about punishment.
it's also about rehabilitation and reforming these individuals. there are some bad apples that you just got to put away. but the vast majority can be rehabilitated. >> we've been throwing away, we've been treating people as disposable human beings. the reality is the economic cost of this is important. it costs too much to incarcerate people the way we that we do. there are civil rights, inequality and social justice issues that also come into play. we know for a fact that when we lock folk up for these nonviolent, and we have to stress nonviolent drug offense, many of them substance abuser, when they come back into the world, sometimes they commit crimes again, sometimes worse crimes. the recidivism rate is almost 2/3 in some city, some states. and this particular motion on the part of the president and the attorney general will help to stave off that time. we have a lot more work to do,
as you said, but this is a great step in the right direction. >> you know, the president talks about this in personal terms. and i'm always struck by it. in fact, not only the march on washington, but at morehouse college. loon to what he said. >> the special obligation i felt as a black man like you to help those who need it most, people who didn't have the opportunities that i had, because there but for the grace of god go i. i might have been in their shoes. i might have been in prison. i might have been unemployed. i might not have been able to support a family. and that motivates me. >> it's personal and he says it motivates him. and many of us have responded in different ways, but for the same reasons. >> absolutely. so 60% of the prison population is black or brown. african-american men, 1 out of 3 in their 20s. these young men should be going
to college. these young men should be entering our work force, not being stuck in prisons. and it's heartening to see that we're seeing this movement at the federal level. and also at some of the state levels. for whatever reason, a lot of it h had to do with the recession. states said we don't have the money to put people away. so let's reform the system. >> and it doesn't have to be a partisan issue either, jane. you know, i don't think i agree with senator ron paul on much of anything, but i have to say, he's been a leader on the gop on this issue. here's what he said just last week. >> there was a young man given 55 years in prison for marijuana sale. you can kill somebody in kentucky and be out in 12. if you look at the war on drugs, three out of four people are black or brown. police don't come to your neighborhoods.
you get a better lawyer. these are some injustices. >> do you think he may be able to get some republicans to agree with the president and attorney general holder? i think it's important to highlight the racial nature of this issue. that black and brown folk are subject to these draconian laws more than anyone else. it's a special justice, inequality, racial issue that must be addressed. kudos for the president and the attorney general for addressing it here. >> thank you both for come on the show tonight. >> thanks, reverend. >> coming up, boston strong one year after the tragedy. more than 36,000 people together in boston. it was a remarkable sight to see. the power of the people ahead.
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earlier today, they all came to participate. the president and first lady got the legs rolling and the day was off to a great start. then the president stopped to read one of his favorite books to a group of kids. where "where the wild things are." >> and now said max, lit the wild rumpus start. let's see you guys do a wild rumpus. how do you do a wild rumpus? that's a wild rumpus right there. that's one more right there. who else has a wild rumpus. go! let the wild rumpus start! these are wild things right here. >> up next, president obama hit the basketball court where nba and wnba players were shooting hoops with some visitors. after some spirited chanting from the crowd, the president took a shot. and missed.
then he decided to give another go and missed again. but the third time was the charm. he made it off the backboard. the white house easter egg roll is a great holiday tradition and i hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. [ girl ] my mom, she makes underwater fans that are powered by the moon. ♪ she can print amazing things, right from her computer. [ whirring ] [ train whistle blows ] she makes trains that are friends with trees. ♪ my mom works at ge. ♪ and that's epic, bro, we've forgotten just how good good is. good is setting a personal best before going for a world record. good is swinging to get on base before swinging for a home run. [ crowd cheering ]
good is choosing not to overshoot the moon, but to land right on it and do some experiments. ♪ so start your day off good with a coffee that's good cup after cup. maxwell house. ♪ good to the last drop maxwell house. i dbefore i dosearch any projects on my home. i love my contractor, and i am so thankful to angie's list for bringing us together. find out why more than two million members count on angie's list. angie's list -- reviews you can trust. constipated? .yea dulcolax tablets can cause cramps but not phillips. it has magnesium and works more naturally than stimulant laxatives. for gentle cramp free relief of occasional constipation that works! mmm mmm live the regular life.
finally tonight, boston strong. today 36,000 came from all over the world and ran together a year after bombs tore through the marathon's finish line. the second largest field in the history of the race took to the course. right before the race, runners observed a moment of silence to honor those who lost their lives and those who were seriously injured last year. and all the runners were given bracelets like this one to wear. made of banners from last year's race to honor the victims. for the first time since 1983,
an american won the men's marathon. >> this is for boston, for the united states and the world. we are resilient. we never gave up. >> no, you never gave up. a city that showed the world what it meant to being resilient and coming together. we here at "politics nation" have a very personal connection to the marathon this year. our segment producer ran today. running the boston marathon was a long time goal of miriam's. for the past year, she's trained morning and nigh. before and after work to meet her goal. and today, she did it. completing the marathon in three hours, 28 minutes and 29 seconds. a personal best. way to go, mirjam, we're proud of you back here. and we're proud of all the
runner and the heroes that sh showed the world what it meant to be boston strong. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. >> the democrats' 1% solution. let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm joy reid in for chris matthews. leading off tonight, democrats are co-elessing around a clear message for 2014 and a clear target audience. do you remember mitt romney's thurston howell ii i problem in 2012 followed by his musings at a republican fundraiser? democrats are encouraging candidates to hammer home that same theme of economic unfairness in 2014. the message? the top 1% is doing t,